Compote de Pigeons

Stewed Pigeons


The French in much of their cookery use more bacon than would generally be suited to a very delicate taste, we think. This bacon, from being cured without saltpetre, and from not being smoked, rather resembles salt pork in flavour: we explain this that the reader may, when so disposed, adapt the receipts we give here to an English table by omitting it. Cut into dice from half to three quarters of a pound of streaked bacon, and fry it gently in a large stewpan with a morsel of butter until it is very lightly browned; lift it out, and put in three or four young pigeons trussed as for boiling. When they have become firm, and lightly coloured, lift them out, and stir a large tablespoonful of flour to the fat. When this thickening (roux) is also slightly browned, add gradually to it a pint, or something more, of boiling veal-stock or strong broth; put back the birds and the bacon, with a few small button-onions when their flavour is liked, and stew the whole very gently for three quarters of an hour. Dish the pigeons neatly with the bacon and onions laid between them; skim all the fat from the sauce, reduce it quickly, and strain it over them. The birds should be laid into the stewpan with the breasts downwards.

The third, or half of a pottle of small mushrooms is sometimes added to this dish. It may be converted into a compote aux petits pois by adding to the pigeons when the broth, in which they are laid, first begins to boil, a pint and a half of young peas. For these, a pint and a quarter, at the least, of liquid will be required, and a full hour’s stewing. The economist can substitute water for the broth. When the birds can be had at little cost, one, two, or more, according to circumstances, should be stewed down to make broth or sauce for the others.

Obs.—Pigeons are excellent filled with the mushrooms au beurre, and either roasted or stewed. To broil them proceed as directed for a partridge (French receipt).